Proud to Be a Republican?
By Laurence M. Vance
It is one thing to be a genuine conservative or a libertarian-leaning conservative and identify as a Republican so you can get elected to office in the American two-party monopoly system. It is one thing to register to vote as a Republican so you can vote for what you think is the lesser of two evils in the Republican primary. It is one thing to hold your nose and vote Republican so you can keep those evil Democrats out of office. But it is another thing altogether to say that you are proud to be a Republican.
Here is former Texas governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry in his book Fed Up!:
I am a proud Republican. As frustrated as I am at many in my own party for their waste and incompetence, and as many good friends as I have in the Democratic Party, I am firmly convinced that there is no comparison between the two political parties in modern, twenty-first-century America. As I have said before, “Republicans often aren’t on the right page—indeed, some aren’t even in the right chapter. But most are in the right book. Most Democrats today, on the other hand, can’t even find the library.”
When asked by CNN’s Candy Crowley if he would ever consider leaving the Republican Party for the Democrats or a third party, Kentucky senator Rand Paul replied:
No. I’ve always been a Republican, and I’m one of those people who actually is a real lover of the history of the Republican Party from the days of abolition through the days of civil rights. The Republican Party has a really rich history. In our state, I’m really proud of the fact that the ones who overturned Jim Crow in Kentucky were Republicans fighting against an entirely unified Democrat Party. So I am proud to be Republican. I can’t imagine being anything else.
And here is Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, the chair of the House Liberty Caucus: “I’ve always been a Republican, I’m proud to be a Republican and I plan to stay a Republican.” That was in 2013. Here is a statement from 2014: “I’m proud to be a Republican.”
But why would anyone say that they were proud to be a Republican?
The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln. Republicans who like to accuse Obama of being dictatorial have forgotten all about their beloved Lincoln. He issued a proclamation that freed no slaves. He destroyed the country to save the union. He presided over the first income tax. He supported an amendment to the Constitution that would have prohibited the federal government from ever interfering with Southern slavery. He shut down Northern opposition newspapers and imprisoned Northern political dissenters. He oversaw the deaths of 500,000 to 800,000 Americans. He destroyed the system of states’ rights and federalism created by the Founding Fathers. Why would anyone be proud to be a Republican?
The Republican Party is the party of the drug war. Although Republicans say they are the party of the Constitution, they show their contempt for the Constitution by their ardent support of the unconstitutional drug war that has ruined more lives than drugs themselves. Republicans are the greatest advocates of locking up people in cages for possessing substances the government doesn’t approve of. Why would anyone be proud to be a Republican?
The Republican Party is the party of the warfare state. Closing a domestic military base is implausible. Scraping a weapons system is out of the question. Cutting the bloated defense budget is inconceivable. Invading and occupying other countries is viewed as defensive warfare. Bombing, maiming, and killing whomever the government labels as “the enemy” is viewed as defending our freedoms. Why would anyone be proud to be a Republican?
The Republican Party is the party of empire. Republicans support the stationing of troops and the maintaining of foreign military bases all over the globe—including in Germany, Italy, and Japan even though World War II ended 70 years ago. Closing an overseas military base is unthinkable. Bringing all of the troops home is unimaginable. Why would anyone be proud to be a Republican?
The Republican Party is the party of the welfare state. Republicans are welfare statists just like Democrats. They believe that it is the proper role of government to provide public assistance, have entitlement programs, maintain a safety net, and guarantee income security. They continually support food stamps, WIC, TANF, federal job training programs, rent subsidies, heating assistance, farm programs, SSI, and refundable tax credits that allow some Americans to receive tax refunds when they paid no taxes to begin with. They support the government providing unemployment benefits so that those who work can support those who don’t. They have no philosophical objection to the government fighting poverty by taking money from some Americans and redistributing it to others. When Bush the president and had a Republican majority in both Houses of Congress for over four years, the Republicans could have eliminated or substantially rolled back the welfare state. They did neither. Why would anyone be proud to be a Republican?
The Republican Party is the party of Social Security. Although Republicans may criticize FDR and many of his New Deal programs, they love his Social Security program and want to “save” it so future generations of young people can support the elderly via an intergenerational, income-transfer, wealth-redistribution welfare scheme. Why would anyone be proud to be a Republican?
The Republican Party is the party of socialized medicine. Although Republicans rail against Obamacare, they are silent about their passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003—the greatest expansion of Medicare since LBJ. Like Social Security, Republicans are some of the greatest champions of “saving” Medicare. And just because they criticize Obamacare doesn’t mean that they favor a real free market in health care, the total separation of medicine from the state, the complete deregulation of the health-insurance industry, or the establishment of medical freedom. Republicans believe that some Americans should pay for the health care of other Americans. Why would anyone be proud to be a Republican?
The Republican Party is the part of foreign aid. Republicans have no philosophical objection whatsoever to taking money from American taxpayers and giving it to corrupt foreign regimes, including bribing them with cash and military equipment to get them to obey U.S. dictates. Spending on foreign aid practically doubled during the Bush years. Why would anyone be proud to be a Republican?
The Republican Party is the party of federal control of education. The Democrats may have given us Common Core, but the Republicans gave us No Child Left Behind. Republicans support the federal student loan program, Pell Grants, the National School Lunch Program, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and Head Start. And instead of eliminating the federal Department of Education when they had a majority in both Houses of Congress for over four years during the Bush presidency, they practically doubled the department’s budget. Republicans believe that some Americans should pay for the education of the children of other Americans. Why would anyone be proud to be a Republican?
The Republican Party is the party of an aggressive, belligerent, and meddling interventionist foreign policy. Republicans believe that the United States should be a busybody who polices the world and tells every other country what it should and shouldn’t do. They fully support CIA covert activities and torture—as long as the American people don’t find out about it. Why would anyone be proud to be a Republican?
The Republican Party is the party of taxes. Tax reform is unacceptable unless it is revenue neutral. Tax deductions, credits, and loopholes that allow some Americans to keep more of their money should be eliminated. “The rich” should pay their fair share via a progressive tax system. The government is entitled to a portion of every American’s income. Why would anyone be proud to be a Republican?
The Republican Party is the party of the national security state. Republicans gave us the Department of Homeland Security when we already had a defense department. They gave us the Patriot Act to violate our liberties. They gave us the TSA to grope us when we travel. The current vocal criticism by some Republicans of the NSA would be reduced to a whimper under a Republican administration. Republicans support a CIA that spies on the whole world and works mischief throughout. Why would anyone be proud to be a Republican?
The Republican Party is the party of massive government spending and debt. The national debt rose almost a trillion dollars between the Republican Revolution that wasn’t in 1995 and Bush’s first inauguration in 2001. During Bush’s presidency, government spending skyrocketed, the national debt almost doubled, and the federal deficit exceeded $1 trillion for the first time. Republicans in Congress regularly vote to raise the debt limit under Republican presidents. They have no philosophical objection to spending billions of taxpayer dollars on thousands of departments, agencies, grants, and programs that are not warranted by the Constitution. Why would anyone be proud to be a Republican?
Proud to be a Republican? Why would anyone who leaned even the slightest bit libertarian ever say such a thing? Ashamed is more like it.